The Archives and Special Collections Center at Seton Hall is also the repository for the Archdiocese of Newark, and as a result we have many Catholic materials and artifacts. Some of the most interesting of these objects are those used in sacramental ceremonies and rituals.
We have many examples of chalices, which are used to hold the Blood of Christ that is taken at Communion. This silver gilt chalice with gold finish was presented to Rev. Pierce McCarthy, former Vice-President and Treasurer of the College, by the students of Seton Hall College in 1870.
Ciboria are also used during Communion. A ciborium resembles a covered chalice, and is used to store the consecrated host. This ornate ciborium from the 1920s is a beautiful example of a style that has virtually disappeared from use since Vatican II, when the church began to emphasize a simpler aesthetic.
Sick call sets were used in the home when a priest came to give the sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion, and Extreme Unction to an ill or bedridden family member. These sets have become increasingly rare as it became less common for sick relatives to be cared for in the home. Some examples from our Archives include an elaborate set which probably dates from the late 19th or early 20th century. It consists of a beautiful wooden box which contains a candelabrum with crucifix and shell-shaped holy water font attached, two small silver plates, a silver-embellished holy water bottle, a dish for regular water, and a small silver-handled horsehair brush for anointing with holy oil.
Also in the Archives is an Irish sick call set from around 1880, which was brought to the United States by a young immigrant. This set, stored in a black paperboard box with gold embellishments, contains a crucifix, two candle holders, a glass bottle for the holy water, a white linen cloth, and a spoon.